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PM: Address to Victoria School of Government

Tuesday 11 October 2005

Rt Hon Helen Clark Prime Minister

Address to Victoria University School of Government – 3rd Anniversary Celebration and Announcement of Winners of Prime Minister’s Prizes

Rutherford House
Wellington

5.10 pm

Tuesday 11 October 2005

It is pleasure to join you this evening to celebrate the third anniversary of Victoria University’s School of Government and to announce the winners of the Prime Minister’s Prizes.

For close to six years, I have been leading a government committed to quality public services being delivered by a strong public sector, and which has worked to strengthen those services.

In operational areas, that commitment has resulted in more than 3000 extra teachers over and above what roll growth required; more than 3500 extra nurses; 820 more corrections officers; funding for more than 1400 extra police staff; and nearly 400 extra social workers at CYF.

In areas of the core public service, we have strengthened capability by increasing the numbers of permanent staff and seeking to reduce reliance on consultants.

New Zealand is known for having one of the most effective and efficient public sectors in the developed world. State sector reforms here have attracted attention worldwide.

The numbers of public servants remain lower than they were a decade ago. In 1994 there were 40,153 people employed in the Public Service, compared to 37,865 in 2004. In 1994, there was one public servant for every 90 New Zealanders; now there’s one for every 108 New Zealanders.

It is also worth noting that the New Zealand public sector compared to the size of the economy as a whole is significantly smaller than for the rest of the OECD.

As a government we are always looking to improve the way in which we can deliver public services. That’s why the relationship with the School of Government is so important. Its mission - ‘Building the capability of the Public Sector’ – is critical to lifting the quality of our public sector, and the School works closely with the state sector and its departments, and agencies.

For the government, some highlights of the School’s past year include:

- the first cohort of graduates emerging from the Australia New Zealand School of Government’s Executive Master of Public Administration programme. The relationship with Australia is vital to New Zealand’s interests, and it is appropriate that there is an Australasian vehicle for advancing our shared interests in building capability in the public sector.

- In the past year, the School has worked with the New Zealand Police and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to run the National Counter-Terrorism Capability seminar, which brought together academic and public sector knowledge and expertise. Effective counter-terrorism strategies and capability are priorities for us, as they are for many nations in the current global environment.

- The School’s Management Delivery Unit is involved in an important partnership with the Police. Since 2000, that partnership has enabled many police employees to participate in university level study.

- The School remains heavily involved in the Executive Leadership Programme for the State Services. This programme, run by the Leadership Development Centre for the State Services Commission, helps talented public servants to further their development needs.

The research centres and institutes under the School of Government have also contributed in other ways to developing and evaluating government policy:

- Projects led by the Health Services Research Centre have focused on the implementation and intermediate outcomes of the government's primary health strategy. Findings on the strategy’s progress have now been released. The Centre is currently finalising findings from a project on the way in which the 2001 health reforms are working to achieve government goals.

- The Roy McKenzie Centre for the Study of Families continues to undertake important commissioned research, and has recently been successful in securing funding for two further projects from the Families Commission.

- The Institute of Policy Studies continues to work on foreign and domestic policy issues, and has made an important contribution to a number of nation-building initiatives in the Asia-Pacific. Last year at this function we celebrated Sir Frank Holmes’ 80th birthday, and the IPS is shortly to publish the proceedings of a conference celebrating Frank’s contribution to public life. I congratulate the IPS, and in particular Andrew Ladley, Jonathan Boston, and John Martin – and of course Sir Frank and Nola - on this important milestone.

- And finally I would like to acknowledge the contribution made by Peter Cozens and the staff of the Centre for Strategic Studies. The Centre has made important contributions to conferences in furtherance of Track II initiatives and the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific.

The Prime Minister’s Prizes

Let me now turn to the announcement of the winners of the Prime Minister’s Prizes for 2004.

There are two prizes:

- The Prime Minister’s Prize in Public Policy Studies, for the best student in the Masters in Public Policy Programme;

- and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Public Management, awarded to the best all round academic performance in the Masters of Public Management programme

The work of the recipients of the Prime Minister’s Prizes meets the test of excellence and the test of policy relevance. It contributes to the development of better policy and better delivery in the public sector.

This year there are two recipients of the Prime Minister’s Prize in Policy Studies.

They are Shilinka Smith, and Mary Slater.

Shilinka Smith is a Senior Policy Analyst with the Office of Ethnic Affairs. Her career in the public service has spanned 11 years, mostly in strategic policy for organisations as diverse as the New Zealand Customs Service and Te Puni Kokiri. Her research focused on Managing for Outcomes, and in particular on the kinds of assumptions which underpin policy development and analysis, and how those assumptions can shape opportunities for communities and citizens.

Mary Slater is a senior analyst with the New Zealand Treasury, having worked previously in both the private and the public sectors, and in the trade union movement. Her research involved an evaluation of the decision not to devolve public (population) health funding to DHBs when the 2000 health reforms set out in the NZ Public Health and Disability Act 2000 were implemented. In turn this formed a part of the much larger Health Reforms 2001 Research Project delivered by the School of Government’s Health Services Research Centre under Jackie Cumming’s leadership

The winner of the Prime Minister’s Prize in Public Management is Anne Shaw. Anne is the Relationship Manager, for the Local/Central Government Interface Team in the Department of Internal Affairs. She has previously worked with the Ministry of Housing, the Treasury, and the Ministry of Education. The focus of Anne’s research was governance in the tertiary education sector, and she sought to identify those elements which well governed tertiary education institution councils have in common.

Could I now invite Sir Frank and Lady Nola Holmes, and Professor Margaret Clark to come forward to make the presentations to the recipients of the Holmes Prize, and the Bernard Galvin Prize.

ENDS

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